Northants offer Aussie star Copeland chance of County Ground return

NORTHANTS RETURN? - Trent Copeland
NORTHANTS RETURN? - Trent Copeland
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Northants will give Trent Copeland first refusal on a potential return to the County Ground later in the summer.

The New South Welshman, who has been a revelation this season, played his final game for the club today against Worcestershire.

Copeland was again the star man as the visitors were hammered by 10 wickets, claiming six for 41 as Worcestershire were bowled out for 125.

That meant Northants needed just eight to win, and they did it in style with Kyle Coetzer hammering a six over extra cover to score the winning runs.

Copeland’s six-wicket haul saw him pass the 50 competitive wicket mark for the club, and he has also been more than handy with the bat.

He returns home to Australia next week, and was given a great send off by the crowd as he left the field at Wantage Road this morning, but he could yet return.

The club have previously made noises about asking Copeland to return for a second stint later in the campaign, and chief executive David Smith has confirmed talks will take place .

Smith said: “Trent’s going back home, and he’s having a long-standing ankle issue looked at.

“It’s mainly to make sure that the volume of cricket he’s playing isn’t doing him any harm and everything will depend on the outcome of that medical.

“We’ve offered him the opportunity to come back for four or five Championship games from the end of August, and after he’s had a couple of weeks back in Australia we’ll get back in touch to see how the land lies.”

One potential sticking point could be the early start to the Australian domestic season.

The Sheffield Shield, traditionally, has got underway in the middle of October but it has been brought forward to incorporate the Big Bash Twenty20 tournament at the height of the southern hemisphere summer.

And Smith admitted that any decision could well be influenced by Copeland’s state commitments.

He continued: “New South Wales have got a new coach in Trevor Bayliss and I expect that he would want to talk to Trent about a few things.

“If he does come back to us then he would probably have to miss the final championship game at Worcester, but that’s something we’ll have to worry about nearer the time.

“Trent’s enjoyed his time here, he’s done an excellent job and we should have a quick decision from him as to whether or not he wants to return.”

Northants’ players now have a full weekend off before they take on the Foxes at Grace Road.